ECI Religion Strategy Launched

For the past six months, ECI has conducted a process of consultation and research to strengthen its active engagement with religious communities and faith-based organizations. The consultation resulted in the development of a specific Earth Charter Program on Religion and Sustainability, for which ECI is currently seeking funds and support. The program will center around the production of high-quality educational materials to increase the level of awareness, knowledge of best practices, and commitment to action among the religions on key international issues like climate change, biodiversity loss and sustainable living.


A major element of this program will be the creation of an Earth Charter Guidebook on Religion and Sustainability. The guidebook will present basic background information, success stories, and best practices on how the Earth Charter can be used within religious contexts to foster reflection and dialogue on, and commitment to, sustainable development. A central piece of the booklet will be a narrative on the contributions of spiritual and religious thinkers and communities in the drafting of the Charter.


The core elements of the program were presented at the first International Experts’ Workshop on Faith-Based Organizations and Education for Sustainable Development, organized by UNESCO Catalonia in Barcelona from March 22 to 24. The workshop was attended by leaders, experts, and activists from various local, regional, and international faith-based organizations, and was aimed at mobilizing faith-based organizations for the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development.


Earth Charter Council Member Mary Evelyn Tucker gave a key-note address on the central role of the religions to advance the aims of the Decade, and Inter-Faith Coordinator Michael Slaby and Abelardo Brenes from the Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development at UPEACE were among the participants, as well as several long-standing Earth Charter supporters. Participants agreed that the concept of reverence for life can be a major meeting point of faith-based organizations and secular institutions that work on sustainability. The Earth Charter was highlighted as a valid ethical framework to bridge these two domains.


The fundraising efforts for the strategic outreach to the religious sector have generated a first success: the US-based Thomas Berry Foundation has announced to support the strategy with a donation of 5.000 USD. ECI is grateful for this generous support and is dedicated to using these funds to further the aim of bringing the world’s religious and spiritual communities into closer cooperation to address the major ecological and social challenges of our day.